Joint Nobel Peace Prize winners dedicate prize to addressing war rapes

Nobel Peace Prize

Nobel Peace Prize

Dr. Denis Mukwege, founder of a hospital in eastern Congo that has treated tens of thousands of victims of the country's conflicts for two decades, and Iraqi activist Nadia Murad received the prize at a ceremony in the Norwegian capital, Oslo.

The Congolese doctor who shares this year's Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end the use of rape and sexual violence as weapons of war on Monday called for strong worldwide action against the abuse, including reparations for victims. "We can not only denounce it, we now need to act".

Murad said "steps towards justice" had given her hope.

The Yazidi cause has won a high-profile supporter - Lebanese-British lawyer and rights activist Amal Clooney, who also penned the foreword to Murad s book, "The Last Girl", published in 2017.

"It is my view that all victims deserve a safe haven until justice is done for them", she said.

Fellow laureate Murad has become a tireless campaigner for the rights of Yazidis since surviving the horrors of captivity under the ISIS in Iraq and Syria where they targeted her Kurdish-speaking community.

She said the Nobel was "a sign" for the thousands of women still held by jihadists.

Captured in 2014, Murad suffered beatings and gang-rape before she was able to escape.

In 2015, she briefed the United Nations Security Council on the issue of human trafficking and conflict, and since September 2016 has served as the goodwill ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking of the United Nations (UNODC).

For the jihadists, with their ultra-strict interpretation of Islam, the Yazidis are seen as heretics.

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She set about trying to escape and managed to flee with the help of a Muslim family from Mosul.

Using false identity papers, she crossed the few dozen kilometres (miles) to Iraqi Kurdistan, joining crowds of other displaced Yazidis in camps.

Murad, 25, was one of an estimated 3,000 girls and women from Iraq's Yazidi minority group who were kidnapped in 2014 by Daesh militants and sold into sexual slavery.

She said Sunday it was hard "for a girl, a woman, to rise up to say that these atrocities have happened".

"I am a joyful person, I am an outgoing person, I don t want to live in fear", she told reporters at a press conference on Sunday.

That same year, the United Nations announced it would begin gathering evidence on IS war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide that would be used to try IS militants in Iraqi courts.

"Each of them in their own way has helped to give greater visibility to war-time sexual violence, so that the perpetrators can be held accountable for their actions", said Nobel committee chairwoman Berit Reiss-Andersen, when the award was announced in October. She was kidnapped by the Islamic State and repeatedly raped.

Nobel laureates Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad called on the world to protect victims of wartime sexual violence in their Peace Prize acceptance speeches on Monday, slamming indifference to the plight of women and children in conflict.

In contrast to all the tragedies, Murad's Twitter feed show happier times.

"The struggle of our people brought us together, and we would continue this path together", she wrote.

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